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Black Mirror season 4 episode 5 'Metalhead' spoiler review: Maxine Peake leads scariest episode to date

The shortest episode to date is led by a towering Maxine Peake performance

Jacob Stolworthy
Thursday 28 December 2017 16:59
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*This review contains spoilers for Black Mirror season 4, which is streaming on Netflix here*

‘Metalhead’ is the shortest Black Mirror episode to date but feels like the longest - which is the highest compliment you can pay it: a relentless heart-racing 38-minute stalk and slash in which the killer is a robotic guard dog turned deadly.

Led by a towering performance from Maxine Peake whose character Bella is forced to outwit the machine - think No Country for Old Men assassin Anton Chigurh with a steely makeover - ‘Metalhead’ is an episode comprised of shots designed to put your nerves through the shredder before reassembling them only to shred them all over again.


Set in a desolate seemingly post-apocalyptic landscape captured in a nightmarish black-and-white (director David Slade's savvy decision), this is as close the world will get to a David Lynch version of Steven Spielberg TV film Duel (a key inspiration, according to the writer). While the story flourishes in its simplicity, it’s Peake’s performance which elevates ‘Metalhead,’ her skills never failing to make you fear something that is - rather incomprehensibly - not there (the dog is complete CGI).

Details hint at a wider story which, upon re-watch, highlights the bravery of her character while simultaneously enhancing the notion that, away from this ultimately fatal hunt, hundreds more are being rendered prey by the deadly dogs ravaging this world - and going by ‘Metalhead’s success, there are no doubts viewers would watch every single one through their fingers as intently as they will this one. 'Metalhead' - perhaps the scariest Black Mirror episodes to date - slots comfortably into the upper echelons of episodes alongside standouts 'The Entire History of You' and 'White Bear.'

NB: “Golden Brown’ can stop being used in popular culture - its usage has officially peaked.

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